New health requirements for NC State employees

by Therese Burkhart of Enterprise Application Services

If you are on the State Health Plan, you probably have already received the new guidelines that are coming out regarding health insurance prices next year. Specifically, North Carolina will impose higher medical premiums on state employees who are considered obese or who smoke.

Why the changes? According to the Wellness Initiative on the State Health Plan Web site, “the two leading causes of preventable deaths in North Carolina are tobacco use and unhealthy diet/physical inactivity, which may lead to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.”

How will the State Health Plan determine who will be charged the higher premiums? The plan asks that members self report their tobacco use if they smoke and their height and weight so that their Body Mass Index (BMI) can be calculated.

Participants – including dependents covered by the State Health Plan – who smoke or who have a BMI greater than 40 will automatically be placed in the 70/30 health plan. Those who do not smoke or who have a BMI less than 40 can choose from the 80/20 or the 70/30 plan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following formula is used to calculate BMI: (weight in pounds/height in inches squared) * 703.

  • A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates you are underweight.
  • A BMI of less than 18.5 and 24.9 indicates you are at a normal or healthy weight.
  • A BMI between 25 and 29.9 suggests you are overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity.

The State Health Plan offers a Tobacco Cessation Program to help tobacco users quit smoking as well as a Worksite Wellness Program to help participants adopt a healthier lifestyle.